Episode 317

Using WordPress and LifterLMS to Deploy the Course Marketplace Business Model with Adrian Nutiu

Learn about the process of using WordPress and LifterLMS to deploy the course marketplace business model with Adrian Nutiu in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Adrian shares his story of why he ended up choosing WordPress to build his sites and LifterLMS as the learning management system he uses to power his course marketplace website.

Using WordPress and LifterLMS to deploy the course marketplace business model with Adrian Nutiu

About 20 years ago, Adrian started his internet journey, and it really changed his life with the ability to connect with others and start an educational project. MadBright (formerly Yumva) is an educational project Adrian started in the style of platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, and MasterClass where you can find the best free and paid courses online.

Finding courses is a large challenge in the education industry. If you search Google, you can’t really find courses. Google doesn’t show YouTube when you search for courses, and the higher-end sites like MasterClass work with just the top 0.1% experts in the world. Getting that visibility for courses can be a big challenge for course creators, and Adrian’s platform MadBright aims to solve that problem.

The extensibility of WordPress is one feature that Adrian highlights as key for the platform. It’s built on PHP code, which is popular amongst freelancers, so we see many freelancers and agencies building plugins and offering custom development services to add any level of customizability to the platform.

Another feature WordPress offers is the price point. Many course creators working on Thinkific are paying around $100 per month, and it will probably be too expensive for users just starting their business and trying to validate. Although it’s a more out-of-the-box solution to go with a hosted LMS platform, the customization options are low and the price point is high.

UpJourney is Adrian’s platform where he hosts guest posts and insights from industry experts around various topics from a results-oriented standpoint. Similar to MadBright as a directory for courses, UpJourney works as a blog sourcing good information on popular questions.

To learn more about Adrian and the projects he’s working on to democratize the education industry, check out MadBright.com and UpJourney.com. If you have any questions or inspiration from this episode, you can also connect with Adrian via email. He’s focused on building platforms. Email is the best way to get in touch if you have any questions for Adrian or just want to say hi.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. Today I’m joined by a special guest, a LifterLMS user and community member. His name is Adrian Nutiu, and he’s got a couple of websites to check out. He’s got yumva.com, that’s Y-U-M-V-A.com, and upjourney.com. We’ll get into what those are in a little bit. But first, welcome to the show, Adrian.

Adrian Nutiu: Thanks for having me, and I’m looking forward to it.

Chris Badgett: I’m really excited to talk with you, because I think the course creator journey and just being a web professional and doing things on the internet, building online businesses and all these things, is something I’m obviously super passionate about. But just to focus on the world of LMS, why did you end up choosing WordPress, and then once you chose WordPress, why did you choose LifterLMS for your learning management system? Tell us about your journey from realizing that you were going to do this project to selecting the best tools to get the jobs done that you wanted to get done.

Adrian Nutiu: Okay. I started my internet journey about 20 years ago and actually, the internet truly changed my life. I graduated in accounting and I didn’t practice for one day. Pretty much, I learned everything online and 20 years later, now the video hosting, it’s affordable. Everything kind of led me to wanting to start an educational project. I think education, it’s usually underserved and it needs change. Let’s say you [inaudible] a project for democratized education. It’s a higher-up level than YouTube but below the bigger marketplaces. So, I did everything-

Chris Badgett: So, Yumva, you’ve got a sweet spot. It’s an education platform between what you can get for free on YouTube and then like you said, the higher-end education platforms. Like what?

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah. Like Udemy, Skillshare, MasterClass. So, for example, YouTube has one huge problem, like discoverability. It’s very hard like-

Chris Badgett: Crowded.

Adrian Nutiu: If you usually search on Google, you can’t really find courses… Google doesn’t show YouTube when you search for courses. And then on the higher-end it’s sites like MasterClass. They pretty much only work with the top 0.01% of experts in the world.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Adrian Nutiu: And then there is a lot of courses that need to… They have an audience but they are not really topics that people would be willing to pay for, like I don’t know, “how to make an omelet” or a history course. I don’t know, a lot of topics, I believe, and probably they can be well-monetized with ads, for example. To get to my journey, my journey, I’m a big believer in open source. I’ve been using WordPress for like 20 years. I think my first sites were not WordPress, but ever since WordPress started becoming a thing, I only use WordPress. It’s the ecosystem, the flexibility. You can move around… just whatever host suits you, you can upgrade, downgrade, start cheap. It’s unlimited scale. It’s unlimited customization.

It’s built on PHP, which is really popular amongst freelancers. So, even if the tool doesn’t have everything that you want, it’s like you can find someone to implement it for you fast and quite inexpensive, which is the main reason why I picked Lifter over the self-hosted platform… SaaS platforms like Teachable and Thinkific. I think those would be really good for someone like, they have zero internet skills, zero computer skills, they just come online and they just want drop and drop to create the course.

But first of all, if they are in that position, I think paying $100 a month will probably be very expensive and they might not want to start just for the part of their business with a $100 a month expense. So, I really think the WordPress ecosystem… it’s right now the basis for everything on internet. When it comes to Lifter, I tested them all. I tested Lifter, LearnDash, Tutor. I paid for their premium versions. I got the chance to test their stuff for free because surprisingly they have it on GitHub, which is just amazing. You can play with everything until the moment you want to start accepting payments. There is no hidden feature for you, so that’s a no-brainer.

Secondly, besides the functionality, it’s also the look of it and the cadence, which right now with [inaudible] cadence, that’s what you pay. It’s an amazing thing that there’s Lifter, and you usually get a great site out of the box. Usually you can have a course site in what, one hour, probably like that.

Chris Badgett: And you build something like Udemy… like a course platform.

Adrian Nutiu: Yes.

Chris Badgett: Which, I always love these stories because I forget what it is, but Udemy has something, many, many millions of dollars in funding and you build-

Adrian Nutiu: Exactly. It’s amazing.

Chris Badgett: … something similar for free and maybe with a few Lifter add-ons or whatever.

Adrian Nutiu: The only reason I actually needed… Because the platform is free, so I didn’t need to pay a month. I didn’t need to pay for that. The only reason I paid for an add-on was to connect Formidable Forms so I can have a long registration form for instructors.

Chris Badgett: Oh, nice.

Adrian Nutiu: And to also have custom registration for users because I added social logins. Last time I checked, Udemy got like 55 million in funding.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, and you did for free, or for 100 bucks.

Adrian Nutiu: And literally, you could build a platform. Yeah, it’s not everything… like my team has to do some uploads. The video upload process, it’s not entirely automated like their platform, but usually in one day you can have a platform that takes maybe half a year to build, and millions of dollars to develop. Yeah, it’s that powerful. And talking about this, actually the big advantage I found with Lifter was… one of your main competitors, probably the only other one, is they don’t have the instructor role. Which, I can’t imagine LLMS not having the instructor role; that’s the most basic thing.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, I mean, there’s instructors and there’s students. That’s kind of the fundamental building block of a learning site.

Adrian Nutiu: Yes, yes, yes. What I like, you built everything in it. You don’t rely on a third-party ecosystem, but at the same time, you have in your core everything that’s needed, but you still allow third-parties. It can be extended, but it’s not needed for core functions.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, so it’s feature complete, but there’s this huge ecosystem around it too.

Adrian Nutiu: Yes, yes, yes. Also, your integration with Elementor, with the Tangible plugin… I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to customize the look. Literally, you drag and drop, whatever, the colors, the look and feel. It’s super easy. You can even look at a site, like “Hey I like this,” and one hour later have a site that looks like that. Don’t copy, just inspire yourself. A Tangible theme, it’s also super responsive. I had a few questions, they answered the same day or the next day. It’s the absolute best implementation of Elementor for any LMS that I’ve seen.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.

Adrian Nutiu: And matching this together, if you see a site that you want to build, or if you imagine a site that you want to build, one day later you can have one without any programming knowledge. With Yumva, it’s open, so like a free marketplace, at least for now. You have the open source, like having your course on GitHub. So, it was a natural choice. You have a huge freemium model for your business, so it’s just the perfect match. And your documentation is also really good. When I had a few things that I needed to see how it needs to be done, it was there.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Can you share anything around what building your LMS website, how it’s impacted your business or your life, outside of the tech and building the website and the tools, awesome. But, how has this project impacted your life either personally, professionally or both?

Adrian Nutiu: Okay, that’s an interesting question. I only launched it… I started building it like three months ago. That’s the stage when I started researching for video hosting; LMSs and everything else. It’s only launched a bit more than a month. I jumped in a course with every instructor that wanted one. I really made some amazing connections with instructors, just exchanging ideas. I found incredible support for these free courses. Interesting enough, the bigger they were, the more willing they wanted to support the free project, free education.

Chris Badgett: Let me back up a second. Is your LMS, free courses only?

Adrian Nutiu: Right now, yes.

Chris Badgett: And you’re saying the bigger the instructor, you mean in terms of famousness or popularity, the more likely they were to contribute to your project?

Adrian Nutiu: Yes. I didn’t reach out to the really, really big names.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, like the B level.

Adrian Nutiu: I have instructors that are really professional. They have like 40 courses, 20 books and things like that. Some already gave us courses. Probably like 20% of the courses right now are custom for the platform. They didn’t publish them anywhere else.

Chris Badgett: Nice.

Adrian Nutiu: Also, I can share, there are two big names that scheduled down in the next few months that they’re going to film a unique course for the platform. They don’t have any free courses yet. And yeah, that’s interesting. I think all big names… if you look at the Tony Robbins of the world, they all share so much for free. And they are everywhere. A lot of people look at platforms like YouTube and think, “Oh, now it’s kind of crowded.” They don’t start early on. If you’re smaller, maybe spend a bit more time… you already created the course, put it on more platforms. I’ll get maybe a bit in more detail there if we get to the platforms a bit later on.

Chris Badgett: Okay. What do you use for video hosting? What was your solution? What did you use?

Adrian Nutiu: It’s nothing, it’s a custom server. Everything on the market, it’s not suitable for such a project. And if the hosting and bandwidth, those will kill any project.

Chris Badgett: So, are you hosting on Amazon or something?

Adrian Nutiu: No, no, no. It’s servers… I can’t get into much details. But pretty much launching such a project into… actually Amazon and all the other clouds, they are overcharging severely. Most of them, they have free peering. They don’t pay for bandwidth and they charge super expensive bandwidth. And I might be wrong, maybe they do pay for bandwidth, especially for their premium bandwidth. I know the other course platforms, they all use premium hostings. But I really compare, if you play any video, it will play instantly. It’s still [inaudible] places of the world by being replicated anyway. Yeah, I don’t think a platform like-

Chris Badgett: Vimeo, [crosstalk].

Adrian Nutiu: Maybe. I mean, Vimeo, the problem with Vimeo is their free copyright rule, three strikes copyright rule. So, if you are a platform like… I can’t know if someone would submit at some point something that infringes, and three strikes and they shut you down. Imagine having to find… Right now I think we already have like 1,000. Imagine having given one year to move 100,000 videos or something like that.

Chris Badgett: Oh, wow. That would be crazy. That would be wild.

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah. We actually found there is a device like this where you ship 100 terabytes of data or something like that between applications. I’ve seen how it’s done.

Chris Badgett: Before we move on, one more question on just your purpose and stuff. Why are you so attracted to education? The reason I’m asking is, it’s a big undertaking to build a learning platform. So, where’s the motivation coming from?

Adrian Nutiu: Well, it’s changed my mind, my life. Education changed my life. I think it’s one of the biggest problems in the world right now, I think. So, education, everything could change. I have experience, like UpJourney, it’s also a platform. We don’t produce our own editorial. It will take probably between one and two years before it starts really getting serious traction. I love working on projects that they are hard to do. Not everyone is willing to put the effort, but the benefit, it’s big and the benefits to the world. When this will reach its full potential, it will help millions of people at least. Hopefully billions.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I love it. I mean that’s our mission at LifterLMS and our vision, is to lift up others through education, and one of the ways we do that is by empowering other education entrepreneurs like yourself to do what you do. One more question, just related to location. You’re in Eastern Europe. What’s it like… I’m not sure what the cost of living is in Romania or whatever, but is WordPress also attractive because there’s so much you can do for free? How do you see technology, when it comes to cost? It’s so different depending upon where you live, what you can afford. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Adrian Nutiu: Well, when you’re starting out, definitely. Technology being… I don’t know what’s the cheapest sourcing, but probably a few tens of dollars. So yeah, you can get a domain and you can host a site [inaudible] because at the beginning you don’t have much traffic. I can definitely see someone willing to starting out… benefiting from a super cheap startup cost. But overall at this stage, I don’t think this is a problem. So, it has advantages, but it’s not the deal breaker. I think the ecosystem is the biggest feature of WordPress.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that ecosystem is massive. Like you said, it makes me smile that you said it about Lifter, is the core stuff is there, so it’s not a feature incomplete product or whatever, which happens on WordPress sometimes. You have to patch a bunch of things together to get the job done, but we wanted to be an all-in-one solution while still being very connected and open to the ecosystem. So, we designed the software around that. Can you talk about the pros and cons of using platforms for course creators, like Udemy, YouTube and your platform, Yumva?

Adrian Nutiu: Sure.

Chris Badgett: What’s going on there? You found a gap in the market. So, what’d you find?

Adrian Nutiu: Yes, yes. Pretty much the biggest problem I get from almost all the course creators, especially the ones starting out, is how do I get traffic? Yeah, I can put myself in front of the camera. Literally anyone can probably film a course… well more or less. But literally traffic I think is the absolute number one problem. Even if you go now on platforms, it’s not a guarantee, but at least they have the traffic. You have to attract it. Either it’s free or it’s paid. So, the main benefit, I would think it’s traffic, scale, and ease. I think, for example, the way to put content on YouTube…

Let’s say you have a course and you want to put it on Yumva. Literally, you fill a form, it takes five minutes and send us the files. The way we do it, you don’t even have to go in LifterLMS backend. Literally, you just drop the files and your course miraculously is so nicely formatted and everything, and it will probably get traffic to it. It’s not guaranteed that if you go to platforms you’ll have traffic. That’s it. You have to market somehow. It’s SEO, it’s YouTube, it’s joint ventures like doing podcasts, or webinars, finding others, people, audiences. Which I think it’s a terrific idea for anyone starting out, trying to provide value for other people’s audiences, and you’re doing a great job, inviting people, sharing your audience with them.

Then another thing is these platforms, they rank in Google for everything. If you search marketing courses or literally any keyword with courses, and it’s the same for blog posts and with everything, you’ll find the big sites on a platform; it’s there. They own the traffic. UpJourney has like 7,000 or 8,000 top three rankings. When a platform goes after their keywords, literally you can’t get the Google traffic for that keyword. So, whatever you do, you do productivity courses, sure, you can pay for traffic on whatever. But you can take a part of your maybe super expensive advanced course and put it on platforms and show [inaudible] to anyone that wants to search for a course in Google, which, I think it’s still the highest traffic in the world. I think number one and number two, it’s Google and YouTube.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, just to throw a tip out there, I have a free course about how to use Lifter. It’s called the Quickstart Course. I put that on Udemy for free. I just checked the other day, it had over ten-thousand people enrolled on Udemy. I put it as a YouTube playlist and that has tons of people on it, and I have it as a course on my website. So, you got to work to get the traffic, but be generous, give some stuff away for free.

Adrian Nutiu: And it’s additional traffic. You put it on your website. I don’t know, I think it takes like what, half an hour to put the whole course on Udemy and another half an hour on YouTube? You already spent days creating the asset. Why not spend a bit more hour and market it? In SEO, there are some people that say, I don’t fully agree with it, that spend 20% creating and 80% marketing it.

Chris Badgett: You don’t think that’s true? I’ve heard that too, I’m just curious. What do you think?

Adrian Nutiu: No, I think you should spend 1% creating and 99% marketing.

Chris Badgett: Okay.

Adrian Nutiu: No, it depends. But really, yeah, I think every content, if it’s worth producing, it’s worth promoting it.

Chris Badgett: Yeah.

Adrian Nutiu: And it’s free.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, if you build it, they will not come.

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah, unfortunately.

Chris Badgett: I mean, unless you’re already famous and MasterClass recruits you or whatever, right?

Adrian Nutiu: Yes. And that [crosstalk]. Or you hire a marketing person or you find other ways. Another big thing is, there are people, and I know instructors that’ve done very well on Udemy. You can be a full-time content creator or instructor or those type of good JVs, focus exclusively on the content creation thing. Or you can be a full-stack content creator; be the marketer, be the editor, do everything, and there is no good or wrong way to do it. Probably when you start out anyway, you have to do it all. But, you have to choose your path.

So, I think education-based marketing, it’s a huge thing. Like you said, I think every company that has software, they should teach it. Even in your case, I would go deeper. Not teach how to use Lifter, why not teach them how to set up a membership, everything that you can teach them on WordPress. Literally teach everything they can do that’s related to memberships and [inaudible] on everything. Go one step farther. Even if you put that on Udemy, if you expand from Lifter to WordPress, the market becomes 10 times bigger.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, go up the funnel. Higher up the funnel.

Adrian Nutiu: Yes. Yeah, and you get the audience… the potential viewers are much bigger.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, and that’s a great point. Software companies are particularly bad in that even their documentation, which is a lot easier to make than a course, is often very light. But any company, education-based marketing, it takes work. It’s an investment, but it can save you in so many ways later.

Adrian Nutiu: I know a company that’s an SEO company. That’s all they do. They’ve built, I think they drive over a million or so clients a month just from their content marketing efforts. By the way, HubSpot, which is now a multi-billion dollar company. Their game is SEO traffic and content marketing. Now they have sales channels and everything, but they drive…

There are some SaaS companies that built everything based on that. I don’t think this is only for software. If you have products like, I don’t know, yoga pants, you should do a course about yoga. Teach that and then say, “Hey, all these poses will do much easier to do using our products.” Instead of telling them like, “Hey, our products are amazing,” show them in yours, help them.

I think education and being helpful, this will change companies. The brand awareness and the way that you remember someone that helped you, it’s much different than seeing an ad and showing them… Let’s say I pick up golfing. Imagine a company, going on their website and know that I can learn everything, or just telling me, “Hey, we have the best golf clubs.”

So, I think this is a huge space for education and a lot of topics. I don’t know, maybe it will take 10 years or 50 years, but I think sooner or later, companies will start educating. I don’t think people, for example, should be paying to learn how to set up a WordPress site.

Chris Badgett: Right. Instead of having a blog post about… I’m not saying it’s bad, but if you have a blog post like, “10 reasons to choose WordPress over,” whatever some hosted blog platform is, create some training, create some deeper educational content.

Adrian Nutiu: Lots of people focus, if you go to their blog or the videos, they make just another “three reasons why something,” or “three tips to optimize your websites,” when there is already a guide that’s really good. Why not pick something and make the best resource on that topic? By the way this is actually, for example, on UpJourney we have at the top of the contributor page, we say we only want to publish if your content is the most helpful on the topic. You can’t actually publish if you come and say, “Hey, let me make a…” I’ll give you a real example, “Top 10 best mystery books.” Hey, there is 20 books. If ours is not the best, why would we publish a sub-articles of… I think value, that’s the best way to say it.

Chris Badgett: So, let me ask you a question, just because course creators like yourself are very entrepreneurial, creative people. So, you have yumva.com, which holds the courses, and then you have upjourney.com. Can you describe what the two websites are? What’s the elevator pitch for one? Which one did you start first? Why do you have two?

Adrian Nutiu: Sure, sure. Yeah, so, UpJourney was… first I searched improvement.org, and then I wanted a more catchier, wider domain. So, I bought upjourney.com. That’s exclusively written content.

Chris Badgett: You were just talking about other people submitting content, is that right?

Adrian Nutiu: Yes. We don’t publish anything ourselves. It is just people. First of all, some do it for links. If you’re an author, you get a nice video, we put your big book picture there. I’ll give you an example. It’s just hypothetical. If you were to do an article, “How to make the best omelet in the world.” Assuming they-

Chris Badgett: You know by the way-

Adrian Nutiu: I know, that’s why I said it.

Chris Badgett: Okay. I have questions about that for you listening [crosstalk].

Adrian Nutiu: Let’s say you publish the best article. If you’re doing it on your site, first of all, this is big. Google ranks sites that have huge authority, which we do. What happens when we publish on a topic, we most likely have 20 others’ articles, we interlink them. There is topic authority where we already rank for that Google lots of things, this one is also to rank. It still takes sometimes a few weeks to rank, but pretty much your name, your buyer gets in front of people quite fast. We’re also very good at telling you, “Hey, this is a good topic,” “This is not a good topic to write about,” “It will not drive traffic.” That’s for the written part.

Chris Badgett: Do people pay you or they’re more like guests?

Adrian Nutiu: No, no, no. They just have to create content.

Chris Badgett: Okay. It’s like Medium, kind of. You can just create content.

Adrian Nutiu: Exactly. It’s exactly the same way, but big difference is we curate. You have to pitch the topic and we make sure the topic… On Medium, you publish and see what happens. We also make sure we only publish great articles. For example, we actually wouldn’t publish, you only… Actually, we’ll publish you’re making, just because of your lifestyle. But we don’t publish, like you wouldn’t be able to write… If we have the criteria to only write on what you’re an expert on. So, this also helps with our Google strength. It’s like, your byline always has to match the article that you publish. For example, the whole internet is filled with-

Chris Badgett: Crap?

Adrian Nutiu: … bets for that place, like for some reason, people think Bluehost is the best web host in the world, and they all rank, and we actually have a policy that the people who post product lists, we do post product lists, but they don’t get compensated anyways. So, it kind of forces them to be truthful.

Chris Badgett: Because…

Adrian Nutiu: So, our lists, the person creating them has no incentive and we don’t change. So, our lists are genuine. If you see a product, someone thought those are really the best products and we never put product just because they have an affiliate program or not.

Chris Badgett: Let me ask you real quick on the motivations or the economics or whatever. So, what’s in it for the writer and then what’s in it for you? Are you doing affiliate or ads, or are you monetizing it or are you using it-

Adrian Nutiu: Yes.

Chris Badgett: … to get traffic somewhere else? And then what does the writer get?

Adrian Nutiu: The writer gets the byline. So, they get to put their book cover, their domain and whatever they want to promote, just getting seen. That’s pretty much the exchange, and some do it for the link because it helps their domain authority as well if they care at all about SEO. What we do, we show ads. And we do have, if we can affiliate, we do, but for the products, but we don’t force it. So, if they say, “Hey, this is the best product, there is no affiliate program,” we just post the product as they recommended.

And also in going back to the course instructors’ advice a bit, I think many would benefit from actually if they’re experts in something and they might have a course on it, but they might also consider some blogs, some video, like non-course content. The web, it’s still run by ads like Google, YouTube, Facebook, the top free traffic sites in the world. And all the other big platforms, Twitter, Pinterest, they all make their money with ads. And, it’s not a bad business model.

Chris Badgett: Right.

Adrian Nutiu: I think some people might, or should also consider that. And then on Yumva, the model right now, if they publish a course, at the end they can have a More From, and they can pitch anyone. There is a lesson dedicated to, “Hey, here it is, more from me. Go buy my course, subscribe to my YouTube channel,” do whatever they want to do. And also now, the videos can be watermarked with their brand, their website and whatever they want.

Chris Badgett: That’s cool. That’s cool.

Adrian Nutiu: And people do it also to promote their books. They might have a book on the topic. Interesting, you would think that people go from book to course. I’ve seen people do it the other way around as well.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah. That makes sense.

Adrian Nutiu: Make a course to promote the book, because a book, it’s more like a study. A course, it’s a bit more on the entertainment, more interactive part. So, I think it can go both ways.

Chris Badgett: I love this idea because you know, a lot of people get obsessed with the mechanism, like I’m a course creator, or I’m a blogger, or I’m a YouTuber, or I’m whatever. But really, if you put a certain target market at the center of somebody that you can help solve a problem, then you might want to make videos for them, articles on your platform, guest posts on places like UpJourney. And, just surround that customer. It’s not as much about the mechanism, it’s about your expertise and helping somebody get a result.

Adrian Nutiu: [inaudible].

Chris Badgett: Go ahead.

Adrian Nutiu: I wanted to say, if anyone has any questions, they can reach me at [email protected] I usually answer very fast, like 24 hours to almost all emails. So, if they have any questions about what I’ve discussed and what we’ve discussed, they will come to contact me. [crosstalk].

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Yeah, yeah, that’s-

Adrian Nutiu: No, it’s free. I don’t sell coaching. I don’t sell consulting. I don’t do any, I’m not going to pitch you anything.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. Appreciate that. And I find that too, the people that tend to get the most success, they’re approachable, even if they’re getting a lot of traffic or whatever, they’re engaged. So, I call it the publisher mindset. You have a blog where you publish other people’s content. You have a course site at yumva.com where you publish other people’s courses. Tell us about, was there a point in your life where you made the decision or learned about the business model of publisher versus, expert yourself? Tell us about becoming a publisher.

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah, I always had this… These are the two models, like you’re a publisher or you are the expert. I think you shouldn’t try to be both. And, pretty much I think it’s my personality. I like building systems more than teaching directly. So, it’s that desire to build system systems, tweaking and, it’s really… I love it. For me, this is what I like to do. Even my first ever project was a forum. I think ever since my day one on the internet, I didn’t have the concept of a publisher and a platform. My first project was, “Hey, let’s build a platform where people can interact about certain topics.” So, that I said, if everyone is interested in the platform, publisher, like scalable business model, there is an amazing book called Exponential Organizations.

Chris Badgett: Oh, that’s cool. I haven’t heard of that, Exponential Organizations?

Adrian Nutiu: Organizations. Yes, it’s the book and the [inaudible]. It’s from the Singularity University. They pretty much talk about all this impact of technology, and one of the course principles is building businesses based on dashboards and facilitating things.

Chris Badgett: I love that.

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah, it’s an interesting concept. I think if you’re not sure, like maybe you don’t feel you’re the content creator and it’s not… All the internet marketing gurus, they make you believe that you have to build a funnel, upsell, do coaching, do everything. While there are a lot of businesses out there… The biggest downside to being a platform is the time needed, and the effort. If you’re just starting out, it’s much harder because, for example, on Yumva I needed a technology, which wasn’t easy because of the whole video hosting thing. Then you need the course creators and you need the visitors. It’s like a chicken and egg. If you don’t have the instructors then the visitors come and there is nothing to watch.

Instructors want to come because you have traffic. But the nice thing is, once the snowball gets going, the more traffic you have, the more appeal it gets for everyone, “Hey, come on our platform, we have a million visitors a month.” Hmm. It sounds very appealing. For example, now that you know, you’ve got 10,000 views on Udemy, it’s more likely that if you do more free courses, even if you want to put them on your site, like, “Hey, let’s spend 20 minutes to put it there as well.”

Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah. Totally. I call that moving slow to move fast later. Like you said, if you’re thinking in systems, yeah, it takes time to build systems. It’s easier for an expert to just step up on stage, grab the mic and teach. But if you take the time to build systems, it really pays off later.

Adrian Nutiu: I think this is actually one of the biggest mistakes on both models, is people totally underestimating the time needed to make it.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, what’s your issue there? What’s the reality?

Adrian Nutiu: Both models, I don’t know anyone that made it, first year, it’s a struggle no matter what model you think. If you’re an instructor, just go everywhere, try to find any podcast, go in Facebook Groups, the video, do YouTubes, try to build an audience. And it’s almost like in the SaaS business, you have to find a product market fit. Just because you can teach something, it doesn’t mean that’s the thing you have to teach. And it may be the market that will tell you too, “Hey, we don’t want that, but you also know that, or change that a bit to help us more in this way.”

Maybe some things would be better suited for coaching programs. Also, I think that’s another area where, to succeed as a content creator, that passive income model, it’s kind of going away. And if you offer some, live calls and a bit of interaction of help, I think that’s where the future is also to be able to charge the higher prices for courses.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, I call that access. That’s one of the things people pay for, is access and the level of support and personalization. Well, you made it to the lightning round, Adrian, because we’re running out of time. I can talk to you for hours. So, I’m going to see if I can do some quick mining to get some other, just high value things out of this conversation for you that’s out there watching and listening. Top three mistakes course creators make, if you could say them quickly.

Adrian Nutiu: Well, the biggest one, it’s really, you need to give yourself time. You need to learn, you need time to build an audience. It’s not going to be overnight. And whoever will tell you otherwise, the biggest experts out there, they started 25 years ago and you still see them on scene, on stage and you see them everywhere. I’ve seen them in smaller podcasts, they are everywhere.

So, this would be the second, it’s a tip and a mistake. Don’t try to hunt the big opportunity. Like, “Hey, I’m going to hope to get in one shot.” I think if you get in 1,000 small shows, you are better than getting in 10 big shows.

Chris Badgett: All right. What’s one more for us?

Adrian Nutiu: You have to find a source of traffic. It’s again, not necessarily a mistake, but the mistake, it’s thinking that you can make paid traffic work for everything.

Chris Badgett: I love that. What does paid traffic not work for?

Adrian Nutiu: A lot of B2C, small amount courses. Like if you sell something for $10 or $20, I don’t think you’re going to make paid traffic work for you. But there might be communities and podcasts, or it could be an industry, but, I don’t know. I don’t even know. Do you do paid traffic?

Chris Badgett: I’ve tried, but I haven’t really gotten it working. So, I just rely on content.

Adrian Nutiu: It’s a SaaS. It’s a SaaS company, and it’s still, you have a high price point, recurring it’s still hard, and it’s a product that helps people make money. And it’s still hard. Now, imagine trying to send them to an e-book for $17 on how to grow something or…

Chris Badgett: Yeah, yeah, that’s a super good point. Well, in just a couple minutes, give us as much SEO tips as you can, for a course creator who has the unique challenge of, or if you’re building a site for a client and somebody’s wanting to add an SEO package to their website build service, serving both those people, what kind of-

Adrian Nutiu: Content.

Chris Badgett: What?

Adrian Nutiu: I got what you mean, so don’t be a douchebag and tell them, “You will know SEO, know what you’re doing, unless you do some serious research first.” Go after the long tail. Literally, if they are an expert, they probably know. And, you can use Google autocomplete. That’s like the keyword research. Try to find the long tails. The experts will probably come up with all kinds of small seven or eight words or longer, things that people might be interested to know about that topic. And literally go after those small, it’s called long tail in SEO. If you are starting out, I wouldn’t do anything else besides that. There is an amazing tool, and they also have probably the best blog on SEO. It’s called ahrefs.com.

I’d recommend reading everything they have before you charge clients or start doing it by yourself, because it could be a big time sink. And just don’t try hoping that people will come. If you don’t target the right keywords, if you are starting out and there are big sites there, the chances that you’re out competing them, it’s very little. Pretty much, you have to produce the best content and make sure you don’t go amongst the biggest publishers in the world.

I think there is an SEO opportunity for absolutely every niche. Whatever you do, even for Lifter, I think there is an SEO opportunity. As long as there is something that people want to know about, there is a niche for it. The best tip is also, when it comes to content creation, answer questions. Make a huge list of-

Chris Badgett: Q&A, yeah.

Adrian Nutiu: Q&A. So, one article for each question. So, if you go in Google and try to autocomplete so it’s not… You can type, “how to membership site,” and then put the star sign at the beginning. And then Google will tell you all the related things people search related to how to and membership.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.

Adrian Nutiu: You can apply this to everything. And recently… Google will tell you what content they want you to create, and even they rank it in order of popularity.

Chris Badgett: It’s no secret, you just got to do the research.

Adrian Nutiu: Yeah, but then, you have to create the best content. And Google still relies on links, which is a 10 hour topic on how to do that. But there are people getting good SEO traffic literally answering questions.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, I do need to wrap it up, Adrian. I want to thank you for coming on the LMScast podcast.

Adrian Nutiu: Thank you for having me.

Chris Badgett: You laid a lot of valuable ideas out here and tips, and thank you for sharing what you’ve been up to with Lifter and what you’ve built. That’s incredible. You can find Adrian at upjourney.com. That is the content site. And then there is yumva.com, which is the course site, Y-U-M-V-A.com. What’s the best way for people to connect with you if they want to reach out?

Adrian Nutiu: My email address, [email protected] I’m not too active on social media. Again, I don’t sell anything related to coaching or consulting or anything. My whole focus is on building platforms.

Chris Badgett: I love that. You’re not too active on social media, so you’ve gotten a lot done.

Adrian Nutiu: Yes.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, Adrian, thanks for coming on the show. We really appreciate it.

Adrian Nutiu: Thank you very much.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. And I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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